It can be easy to pack light once you have a little practice, but packing light and packing only seven kilograms are two different things. Some airlines still have a 10 kilo weight limit for your carry-on, but others are sticking to the seven kilo weight limit. Ten kilos is probably the perfect amount, as I find what you can fit in a carry-on is roughly around 10 kilograms worth anyway. But if you need fewer than seven, you need to be ruthless and have a few more tricks up your sleeve...
Start with a good foundation
If you start with a heavy bag, it's over before you begin. If you really want to pack light, make sure to invest in a light, good quality carry-on bag. Some hard cases are now being made out of lighter materials, and also offer good protection.
Toiletries can make or break you. Obviously there are the 100ml liquid restrictions on carry-on only, that can fit into a small zip-lock bag. But don't make the mistake of thinking 100ml is a small amount and that you should take 100ml of everything. 100ml is actually a lot if you are only going on a one, two or even three week holiday.
Things such as cleanser and moisturiser you actually don't need a lot of, so don't take 100ml -- decant them into much smaller containers and you should have plenty. Things such as shampoo and conditioner you may need closer to 100ml depending how long you are going for, or you may need more, so a good alternative is to buy your shampoo and conditioner at your destination if possible. Another thing I often do is take small sample products I have accumulated over time, which are often the perfect amount for a holiday.
If you can avoid packing electronics you will save yourself a lot of weight, and it's great to have a holiday where you can completely switch off. But if you need or want to pack electronics, packing light, even within seven kilos, is still doable.
Firstly, some airlines exclude laptops from the weight restrictions (but some don't). I try not to pack my laptop in my main luggage as often your handbag/smaller piece you are allowed is not weighed.
Don't over pack your electronics. What I mean is, if you have a camera, use a lightweight camera bag or just a protective shell rather then using a large camera bag (unless this can also fit other things). Same with your laptop -- gone are the days that huge laptop bags are necessary, so we use a protective slim case for ours.
Get smart on plugs and chargers. If you have a close look, you may find that some of your chargers use the same plugs, which means you don't have to pack a charger for everything you use. As for adaptors, some people advocate for packing a power board so you can charge everything at once, which can be useful but is not necessary. Power boards are big and heavy. We pack an adaptor with two points, and have had no trouble. Don't forget that you can charge your phone through your laptop if necessary. And if you are staying in hotels, a lot of hotels these days have in-wall adaptors so no adaptor is required to charge your devices.
Say goodbye to hard copies
I remember the days when I printed out every confirmation I needed as well as lists of places I wanted to go, and then collected receipts and other things along the way, all in a big folder. Truth is, it's just not necessary, and it's actually much more refreshing to have electronic copies that you don't need to carry.
We now make use of google drive and have most of our documents organised on there. If we need a receipt along the way, we take a photo of it and put it on google drive. The only hard copies we take are a few sheets of paper with our passport and cards photocopied, just in case. Keep in mind that hard copies are not required as much now, even some train tickets and accommodation bookings are fine just on your phone. If you do need a printed copy of something, you can usually easily print this off the day before you need it.
Select your shoes carefully
Shoes weigh a lot, and also take up a lot of space. We often pack three or four different types of shoes.
Joggers as we love to explore, often walking around for the entire day. Having joggers also means you can go on hikes and have more flexibility. When we were in Santorini, there is no way I could have walked from Oia to Fira, a stunning but long walk, without packing my joggers. I also wouldn't have been able to hike between the villages of Cinque Terre.
And as much as I could have spent days on end walking around cities without my joggers, I didn't have sore feet to take away from the experience.
Thongs/Flip-flops are a must when visiting beach areas. Not only are they super light to pack, but they are perfect for the beach. Although there are some areas where thongs are not needed or are a little out of place (probably not the best thing for a holiday to Rome), decide on these based on where you are going.
Ballet Flats. Ballet flats are comfortable and stylish and easy to slip on and off. Perfect. As we are travelling all year at the moment, I made sure I invested in a comfortable, good-quality pair of ballet flats, so if I didn't want to walk around in my joggers all day, I didn't have to.
Sandals. Flat sandals are prefect to dress up a day outfit, great for warmer weather, and can also be suitable to wear at night. I swapped out my heels for sandals a couple of years ago, as heels take up so much space and I rarely ended up wearing them. If you are going to a destination where you think you may need heels, then remember it's also probably a destination that you may want to buy heels too.
Make use of a small handbag or backpack
Although most of your things will be packed in your carry-on luggage, you are still allowed a small piece to go with this. Make use of a small handbag or backpack, and pack some of your heavier items in here, as it is often not weighed. Also remember to pack the things you will need easy access to on the plane in here.
Buy things when you get there
If you know you want to go shopping when you get to your destination, pack less so you can still pack it all to come home. Things such as toiletries can often be easily bought once you arrive. And one thing I often do, as I can't resist a real book, is just buy my book after I've checked in and gone through the gates at the airport.
Pack light clothing that can be easily mixed and matched to give you more outfits. I always pack jeans -- although they are heavier, they also don't need to be washed as often, and can often take you from day to night.
Often people say to wear your heaviest clothing, but I think this is only useful at the end of the trip. If you can pack your heaviest clothing items on the way over, then you know you will free up some space for anything you buy by wearing the heaviest clothing items on the way home. And better yet, you may not need that extra room and you can wear what you want on the way home.
Don't buy souvenirs
Some people will be totally against this one, but I stopped buying souvenirs a few years ago. It wasn't something I thought about, but I was just realising that all the souvenirs I brought home served no purpose -- they'd go into a box and never be used or seen.
Now, this doesn't mean don't buy anything to remind you of your trip, but only buy items that mean something to you or something of use. Or buy nothing and spend that money on really enjoying your time there. Not buying souvenirs will really save space and weight.
Don't be a slave to the seven kilograms
At the same time, if there is something you want to buy on holidays and it simply can't fit in carry-on, or will make you go over seven kilos or over the liquid restrictions, don't let the seven kilos rule your holiday.
You will still reap some of the benefits of packing light by doing it one way, and checking your luggage on the way home (if you really need to). Or you can post something home so you don't need to carry it around on your holiday. There are still plenty of options and flexibility. In the past, we have checked in a small box of limoncello from Italy as a gift (ironically, this box didn't appear at the airport on the other end).
This blog was originally published on Almost Landing Travel Blog.